Wednesday, 7 December 2016

THE CROWN SPIRE by Catherine Curzon and Willow Winsham

4 out of 5 stars

Regency Romance

On Amazon UK HERE
On Goodreads HERE

Reviewed by me as a member of Rosie Amber's Book Review Team  

Historical romance, moi?  Not usually, but I've read non-fiction by both Catherine Curzon and Willow Winsham, so was sure this would be beautifully written and well-researched, and indeed it is!

Alice and her daughter Beth are fleeing from Alice's brute of a husband in London, and travelling to Edinburgh, where they are accosted by highwaymen.  Just before all is lost, though, two dashing masked riders swoop in to save them.  The excitable and frustrated Beth is eager for adventure and falls for her gallant rescuer immediately, though Alice needs some persuading.  They stay the night at an inn, where they meet equally dashing landlord Edward Hogan, and the dour but most likeable Dr James Dillingham. Their journey comes to an end at the house of Alice's dour but less likeable sister, Josephine; Beth is eager to break out of the staid lifestyle forced upon a girl of her class, and find romance and thrills.  Alice, too, wonders if she has leapt from frying pan to fire, and is persuaded to venture out with Dr Dillingham.  All will be revealed.....

The story flows so smoothly; it's witty, almost tongue in cheek in style, in parts, and I am certain lovers of the Regency romance will adore it.  Edward Hogan is a fine hero (I was quite jealous of Beth!), and the characterisation is excellent all the way through.  The sex bits didn't make me cringe, either, which is good for me, because they usually do, but it's written in a relatively realistic way (relative for this type of romance, I mean!), and avoids the stock phrases and descriptions.

I did have slight doubts about an upper middle class girl like Beth sneaking around and going in to pubs at night on her own, but it didn't really matter, and my disbelief remained suspended; I don't think the story is meant to be a hundred per cent realistic.  The rest seems to be perfectly researched; I'd sum it up as charming fantasy escapism for the romantically inclined.